John and I are in the process of adopting four girls, ages 14, 12, 12, and 10, from the foster care system. They are beautiful, smart, and funny. We’ve had two day visits and one weekend visit with them, and John and I are just scratching the surface at discovering who these amazing young women are. At the same time John and I are trying to share our lives, our likes, our values, . . . and our books.
A few weeks ago we were heading out for our first visit, and on a whim I decided to take them some of the books I wrote for the girls. I was in the garage loading up, so I went to the nearest box and picked out My Life, Unscripted and two of my novels, The Promise Box and The Kissing Bridge. They girls were so excited to read them, and I was excited over the fact they’d know a little about my work. What I hadn’t expected is how many conversations those books would spark in the upcoming weeks.
When we arrived for the second visit, one of the twins ran up to me. “I read your books.” She was so excited, yet at the same time her eyes seemed to be full of questions. Later, when the family went on a walk, she asked if she could hang back and talk just with me. She then asked me about My Life, Unscripted. She wanted to know how much of it was really true about my life. I admitted to her I changed the names and sometimes the circumstances, but the stories were true. For the next hour we talked about true friendships, boyfriends, and insecurities. And when we finished talking about that, she asked about where I got the ideas for my novels.
She wanted to know where the ideas for the characters and about Montana where those books were set. I enjoyed telling her about my son Cory playing logger sports and about my friend’s near loss that inspired The Kissing Bridge. I enjoyed sharing snippets of my life, and I also asked about hers.
Authors often think we’re creative when we write. The truth is all creativity starts with observation. I pay attention to my life, the people around me, and their stories. I never know when an experience and an idea will merge to create a perfect template.
If you and I were to sit down to coffee and discuss one of my novels, I could tell you when I struggled, when I rejoiced, and what real-life events are true. The books I write are a snapshot of me, of my life. I’m determined to squeeze everything out of me that is possible and put it in a book.
Want to know an author? Read her books.
Want to really know an author? Ask her about the stories behind them. You’re sure to be amazed!